As I expected the Cavaliers are generating mixed feelings among prognosticators and NBA experts out there with respect to how they will do in the coming season. Some believe the addition of Mo Williams won't make a lick of difference. Others believe otherwise.
Sporting News' Sean Deveney predicts the Cavaliers for second place finish in the NBA Central. No big surpirse there, but he asks the one question that has to be on the minds and tongues of Cavs fans throughout Northeast Ohio:
Is Maurice Williams the guy LeBron's been looking for? The plan in Cleveland seems to center on lining up as many perimeter scorers as possible around LeBron James. They've got Daniel Gibson, Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and, now, Williams, acquired from Milwaukee as part of a three-team trade this summer. Williams is owed $43 million over the next five years, so acquiring him from the Bucks was a risky move. But the Cavs see Williams as much more than a perimeter scorer. He is not a great playmaker (which caused some tensions with Michael Redd in Milwaukee), but he has the ability to run a fast break, something the Cavaliers have simply not done well at all in recent years. And, unlike the Cavs' other outside options, he has the ability to create his own shot, which will naturally take pressure off James in halfcourt sets. Williams has been terrific for the Cavs thus far in the preseason.Is he? Williams is still getting acclimated to the Cavs' system, but I like what I've seen so far. When he drives to the lane, he does so with confidence. He's quick and smart and the only time I've questioned his judgment in the preseason is when he's pulled up for a jumper instead of waiting on the rest of his teammates. The short answer to that question: Time will tell.
With Williams, Cleveland has a chance to unseat the Celtics. His arrival may also make James think twice about leaving town when his contract expires after 2009-10. "The great thing about Mo is that he's an established player but he's also 25 years old," says Ferry. "Hopefully his best years are ahead of him."The Cavs will find the Celtics, who are favored to repeat, in their way, but something folks need to consider Ray Allen who has had problems staying healthy in recent seasons. That's Boston's big X factor, that and whether James Posey's exodus will have an impact on the club's bench.
The Cavaliers have made the playoffs three straight seasons and have yet to get thwarted in the first round. They've also made it to the Finals, but will this be the year they finally get over the hump? ... This team relies on James like humans rely on air to breathe. What happens if he were to go down with injury? Well, what would happen if we didn't have air? ... How much will Williams step up as the floor general? Or, a better question - how good will this team be if he can truly serve as Robin to Batman? ... Like mentioned before, will LeBron's off-court life affect the Cavaliers? Are the whispers of sweet nothings by New Jersey Nets part-owner and close buddy Jay-Z loud enough to cause a disturbance in Cleveland?And now for something compeletely different: What's the reaction been to Delonte West's disclosure of suffering from depresssion and a mood disorder? Just as it should have been.